GOP declares war on itself

GOP power-brokers have raised a $50M war-chest to fight the nomination of "fools" to GOP seats in the upcoming mid-term elections. Effectively, the Republican big-business-friendly establishment has declared war on the Tea Party, in an effort to ensure donors that the slate will not be full of what Matt Taibbi calls "a bottomless pit of brainless Bachmanns and Cruzes and Santorums, all convinced our Harvard-educated president is a sleeper-cell Arab and that Satan is a literal being intent on conquering Nebraska with U.N. troops."

Taibbi is, as always, fucking incandescent on the subject. He points out the delicious irony of svengalis like Karl Rove and Dick Armey -- who put GW Bush in the White House by gleefully pandering to the ignorant and prejudiced with "faith-based initiatives" to bring in "the nuts" (as Rove calls evangelicals when he thinks he's in private) and Swift-Boating -- now having to keep those people from derailing the party and scaring off all the millionaires and billionaires.

If they're going to keep on donating to the GOP, they need to be assured that the party's elected reps understand that gay marriage and no-abortion-for-rape-victims are just distracting side-shows to win votes, and should be set aside once in office to pursue the serious business of looting the nation and spying on everyone to prevent any kind of popular uprising.

For Rove, if that required handing out chestnuts like the "Faith-based thing" to the "nuts," or indulging John Ashcroft’s pathological fear of marble tits, so be it – the important thing was that in the end, Cheney’s energy buddies got their Clear Skies Act, the biotech donors got their Prescription Drug Benefit Act, the consumer credit vampires got their Bankruptcy Bill, and so on.

With Armey and the Tea Party, the "movement" was about always about rallying ordinary struggling Americans behind an idealized anti-tax/deregulatory agenda that, in an amazing coincidence, also favored the super-wealthy industrialists who happened to be backing groups like FreedomWorks.

The problem with blowing off the whole governing thing in favor of a decade-plus of cynical pandering and generally treating presidential politics like a fraternity pranking competition is that it eventually comes back to bite you.

If you spend years letting your voters think Saddam Hussein was an agent of al-Qaeda, that passing a national health care program will result in the formation of Stalinist "death panels," or that Barack Obama is secretly a foreigner, you’re going to end up with some loopy candidates prone to saying crazy things that will turn off voting majorities, which in turn will make it hard to the deliver policy objectives you actually care about for your big-money donors.

The Republican establishment is only just figuring this out. Hence this new $50 million initiative, which according to the WSJ will involve the Chamber working with party leaders in“an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates.”

On Christmas, Republicans Quietly Declare War on Themselves [Matt Taibbi/Rolling Stone]

(Image: Karl Rove Republican Thief, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from 102627552@N04's photostream)